Tories’ strike plan ‘simply potty’ says Cable

Business Secretary Vince Cable and Andrew Marr appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show.
Business Secretary Vince Cable and Andrew Marr appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show.
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TORY PLANS to make it more difficult for workers to strike are “simply potty”, Vince Cable has said.

The Business Secretary described as “nonsense” Conservative plans to change balloting laws so that a threshold would have to be reached before a strike could be held.

The proposal is to only allow strikes when half of a union’s members have voted in the ballot for it but most MPs would not pass that test, Mr Cable said.

He spoke after a million public sector workers took industrial action demanding fairer pay and pensions and a slowdown in job and spending cuts this week.

Mr Cable told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “I don’t think there’s any need for them, we have far fewer strikes than we had in the past and industrial relations are generally very good.

“The particular proposal that they are making is that no strike should be valid unless over half of the union members have voted for it is simply potty.

“Most MPs wouldn’t be validly elected if that was the test.

“We’ve got Police (And Crime) Commissioners with 15 per cent turnout.

“I think the proposal is nonsense.”

His comments came as firefighters plan to launch a fresh wave of strikes this week in their bitter row with the Government over pensions and retirement age.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union in Wales and England began staging short two-hour walkouts from yesterday for eight consecutive days, forcing brigades to implement contingency plans.

It is the most sustained period of industrial action since the dispute flared over a year ago.

The union has taken strike action on 15 separate occasions, including last week when over a million public sector workers went on strike in protest at government policies.

The FBU is campaigning against controversial changes it believes will force firemen and women to work into their late 50s or into their 60s.